LONDON (UK) - Murray Grove, designed by Waugh Thistleton Architects, is a nine-storey block containing 29 apartments, ranging in size from one to four bedrooms. It is also the UK's, and possibly the world's, tallest timber building. The building has been designed and built using a structural timber system pioneered by KLH of Austria. Panels, each 128 mm thick, are machined using a CNC router from 16×4 m sheets of glued timber strips, into components to construct timber walls, floors and ceilings, with all apertures for doors, windows and services neatly cut out. Lorries – 21 in all – transported the timber jigsaw to the UK in shipments that were immediately erected on site using a mobile crane. The construction of the superstructure took just nine weeks, less time than it usually takes a construction firm to install its site cabins.
'The concept design was developed with the material in mind,' says Andrew Waugh. 'We worked very closely with Techniker structural engineers and KLH to integrate the technology without sacrificing the design principles. A "platform construction" configuration is used throughout. Each floor is set on the walls below. Joints are secured with screws and angle plates at 400 mm centres.'
The timber is untreated and relies on the building envelope for protection from damp and rot. Acoustically, the cross-laminated solid timber panels have a significantly higher density than conventional timber-frame buildings, providing a solid structural core to which further acoustically insulating layers can be added. The weatherproof facade is clad in 5000 Eternit panels: these are 1200×230 mm and manufactured using 70% waste timber.
Sustainability is an issue addressed in all of Waugh Thistleton's work. On this project, for a profit-driven developer, the architect managed to show that the environmentally friendly approach could be cost effective. 'Time/cost savings from prefabrication, less waste and no tower crane were easy to sell to the developer,' says Waugh. 'In addition, because timber absorbs carbon throughout its natural life and continues to store that carbon when cut, the 901 cubic metres that we used will store over 186,000 kg of carbon.'
The building has attracted much interest and a book has been published about its design and construction: A Process Revealed is published by Fuel. (Will Jones)
Ecocentric, Wood |